The message Kamala Harris sends as Biden's vice presidential pick

Harris hugs Biden on March 09, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.

This was excerpted from the August 12 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

(CNN)For generations, picking a Black woman as a vice presidential running mate in America would have been a huge political risk. But Joe Biden's pick of Sen. Kamala Harris is seen as the safe choice -- which says something about the mood of the Democratic Party in a nation where minority candidates still face considerable racial prejudice.

Harris's entrance makes a powerful statement on racial diversity, after the Black Lives Matter movement transformed this year's White House race. She would be the first person of color to serve as vice president, and the first woman. The Biden-Harris team far more accurately reflects the demographic make up of America today than the Trump-Pence combo -- which is running on nostalgia and flagrant racial rhetoric -- and it is expected to unify the Democratic Party's base.
In further contrast with the current commander-in-chief, Biden is showing that he doesn't hold a grudge and isn't intimidated by a strong woman, after Harris stung him in a Democratic primary debate. He is also keeping faith with African American voters, many of them women, who rescued his faltering primary campaign.
    Biden video conferences with Harris over Zoom from his home in Delaware.
    Harris is charismatic and a strong debater. She is viewed as competent and importantly at 55, is two decades younger than her running mate, who would be the oldest President inaugurated for a first term. It's not difficult to picture her in the Oval Office, and she will likely be the heir apparent in 2024 if Biden wins this year -- a possibility that Trump's campaign framed as Biden surrendering "control...to the radical mob."
    While Harris is the safer vice presidential pick for her own party, Trump's initial personal reaction -- hitting racial stereotypes -- shows that he will inflame the baser elements of US society to try to make her a liability. After calling Harris a "fine choice" just weeks ago, Trump accused her on Tuesday of being a liar — rich since he's made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims as President, according to the Washington Post's count -- and referred to her as "nasty," "horrible" and one of the "meanest" people in the US Senate.

    'They're not going to be competitive'

    The cracks are already showing in Trump's new interest in democracy and human rights in Hong Kong. In a radio interview Tuesday, the President seemed eager for America to profit from China's crackdown in the autonomous territory -- despite his own government's criticisms of Beijing.